A photo making the rounds on social media shows a Vancouver lawn sign warning Pokemon Go players not to trespass. It also declares the trend is more stupid than trickle-down economics or the hammer pants fashion craze of the early ’90s.
The game has also gotten a lot of flack for listing private properties as Pokemon destinations — hence the nasty lawn sign — and for causing injuries. When using your cellphone to chase fictional monsters around town, you need to watch your step.
“In order to get the good ones or get a lot of them, you need to get off your butt and walk outside.”
She’s an avid player and says the game motivates her to walk about an extra seven kilometres a week — without even noticing. Because you’re playing a fun game, she explains, “It makes people forget that they’re actually getting physical activity.”
The trick appears to be working. Sixty per cent of American millennials surveyed in a new Manulife poll said playing the game has upped their activity levels.
The game definitely got Roberto Vazquez moving.
The 24-year-old Toronto photographer was so focused on catching all 142 monsters, he says he didn’t even notice he was shedding pounds.
After a friend made a comment about his smaller appearance, Vazquez decided to step on a scale. “I was really amazed.”
“When you see results, it gets me more motivated.”
McDonald says walking is an important part of his therapy, yet it’s difficult because his condition causes him chronic pain. But after discovering Pokemon Go, he says he managed to walk 50 kilometres in three weeks.
“It just sort of distracted me. I’m not going out because I have to and I have to push through the pain. I’m going out because I want to catch some Pokemon.”
The game is also having a positive effect on kids. Days after Pokemon Go launched, Anna Cormier told CBC News in Fredericton that she had been out every day playing it with her two children. She says her son Cameron used to be reluctant to get active with her.
“Going for walks with him was hard. Any mention of the mall or going shopping, there was huge fights and hissy fits. Now I just tell him we’re going to go catch some Pokemon. It’s 100 per cent better.”
But amidst all the happy Pokemon Go stories lurks a lot of hate.
McDonald says trolls join Pokemon groups on social media just to “call people out and tell them what losers they are.” He sent CBC News examples of comments, including one that informs adult male players they need to turn in their “man card.”
The game isn’t above legitimate criticism, be it about safety or property rights, for example. But let’s not forget it also has a huge plus-side: it encourages people to get outside and move — no small feat in the digital age.